Funeral cards were to be distributed to family members, friends, and the surrounding community to alert family and friends re the date and time of a funeral.
Recipients of a funeral card were expected to attend the funeral or risk offending family members. Funeral cards were often saved, tossed in a drawer, tucked in the pages of a bible or photo album.
Ancestors At Rest has a large collection of funeral cards online. You can search these genealogy treasures for free. Each card contains the name of the deceased, birth and death dates and a poem. Sometimes more information is included.
The funeral card of David Cowan is a nice example. The inscription reads "David L. Cowen who died on April 25, 1891 at the age of 77 years, 1 month and 14 days." The card is black, bordered in gold, with a verse and logo. Sometimes funeral cards include a photo of the deceased.
If you are lucky you may find a photograph of the deceased tucked into a family bible or photo album, along with the funeral card. Such is the case with the Funeral Card & Photo of Lydia A. Blesh